How to Import and Update Inventory in QuickBooks


Quickbooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise all have a built-in inventory module you can use to track your inventory. By integrating your inventory into Quickbooks, the software can automatically update inventory unit quantities and track sales revenue, income, cost of goods sold and current inventory value. To use the inventory module, import your inventory information and adjust the quantities as necessary.

Import Inventory

To import inventory, you must first activate the inventory module in Quickbooks. Once you've done that, you can import your properly-formatted inventory data into the software.

Turn on Inventory Preferences

  1. Launch Quickbooks. Log in as an administrator and switch to Single User Mode.
  2. Click on "Edit," then "Preferences." Select "Items & Inventory" and click on "Company Tab."
  3. Check the "Inventory and Purchase Orders are Active" box, then click "OK."

Create an Inventory Spreadsheet

Create a spreadsheet that contains your current inventory information. For each type of inventory you stock, create a table with rows labelled Item Name, Item Type, Income Account, Inventory Asset Account, On Hand Amount, Cost and Sales Price. Fill-in the respective information in the adjacent column, using this table as a guide.

Import the Data

  1. Navigate to the File menu and select "Utilities, then Import."
  2. In the Import sub-menu, choose "Excel Files." A window will appear allowing you to add the data.
  3. Click "Advanced Import," then "Browse." Locate your spreadsheet file, highlight it and click "Open."
  4. If checked, uncheck the "This data file has header rows" box.
  5. In the mapping drop-down menu, click "Choose" and "Add New." Name the template Inventory Mapping.
  6. In the import type drop-down menu, choose "Item." Match the columns with the corresponding data in your spreadsheet.
  7. Click "Save."

Updating Inventory

Once your inventory is imported, Quickbooks will automatically track inventory for you. To alert Quickbooks to the purchase of new inventory, indicate the inventory item you've purchased and the quantity in the Item and Amount drop-down menus when you enter sales invoices, sales orders and sales receipts. To capture outgoing inventory, note the inventory items and amounts sold in the Item and Amount drop-down menu when you enter purchase orders, credit card charges, bills and checks.


  • Count your inventory on a regular basis -- at a minimum, once a year -- to ensure your actual inventory levels match the quantities listed in Quickbooks.

If something's not right, you can adjust your inventory manually. To update inventory quantity, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Vendors, Inventory Activities and choose "Adjust Quantity/Value on Hand."
  2. In the Adjustment Type menu, choose "Quantity." Enter the date the inventory quantity changed.
  3. In the Adjustment Account menu, choose the account you want to charge the adjustments to. Any inventory shortages should be charged to an expense account and increases should go to an income account.
  4. Click in the item column and type in the name of the inventory item you want to adjust.
  5. In the Quantity Difference column, type in the difference from the current inventory balance. For example, if you want to decrease the inventory quantity by ten, type -10.
  6. Click "Save."

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